ACLU to Mark 50th Anniversary of Equal Pay Act With Call for Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act

June 7, 2013 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union will mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act on Monday with a call for Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Passed on June 10, 1963, the Equal Pay Act was a landmark piece of anti-discrimination legislation meant to be a first step on the path toward gender pay equality, but since its enactment, loopholes and weak remedies have watered down its effectiveness.

“More women are breadwinners than ever before, but their paychecks haven’t caught up to the reality of women in the workplace,” said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU senior legislative counsel and co-chair of the National Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition. “When President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act a half century ago, he intended the law to be a first step toward equality. It’s time for Congress to fulfill his promise by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and sending a clear message that wage discrimination and the ongoing wage gap won’t be tolerated.”

On average, women today earn just 77 cents for every dollar that men earn — a mere 18 cents on the dollar increase since the Equal Pay Act was enacted. The statistics are even worse for women of color.

The Paycheck Fairness Act is a much-needed, first-ever update to the Equal Pay Act of 1963. It would strengthen the Equal Pay Act by requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differences between men and women doing the same work actually stem from factors other than sex. This bill also bans retaliation against workers just because they ask about wage practices or disclose their wages to co-workers. In addition, the Paycheck Fairness Act levels the playing field by giving women the same remedies for sex discrimination that are in place for race and national origin discrimination.

The ACLU also announced the launch of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign, a national state-based campaign to ensure equal pay for women. The EPT! Campaign has set forth an Equal Pay Platform calling for an end to five areas of employment practices that contribute to the gender wage gap. Working with state affiliates throughout the country, as well as approximately 20 other national and state-based women’s rights organizations, the ACLU plans to seek policy reform in all 50 states to finally achieve equal pay for women and make real the promise of the Equal Pay Act.

To learn more about the ACLU’s work on equal pay, visit

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